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Monday, May 11, 2009

Hawks - (s/t)

Band: Hawks
Album: s/t
Year: 1981
Style: Power Pop
Similar Bands: Survivor, Loverboy, Journey, Supertramp, Wings, Beatles, Kinks, Herman's Hermits.
"One-Word" Review: Intelli-varied-radio-pop-style
Based Out Of: Ft Dodge, Iowa
Label: Columbia, CBS
Hawks - Cover & Lyrics
Hawks - Cover & Lyrics
Hawks - Record

Hawks (1981)
  1. It's All Right, it's OK 4:04
  2. I Want You, I Need You 4:15
  3. Right Away 3:39
  4. Lonely Nights 3:09
  5. Let Me In 4:44 /
  6. Need Your Love 4:31
  7. American Girls 3:01
  8. The Admiral's Mutiny 4:02
  9. Spend this Evening 3:09
  10. Dancing in the Shadows 3:21
Album Rating (1-10): 8.0

Members & Other Bands:
Dave Hearn - Keys, Vox
Dave Steen - Guitars, Vox
Kirk Kaufman - Guitar, Vox
Frank Wiewel - Bass, Vox
Larry Adams - Drums
Tom Werman - Producer
Gary Ladinsky - Record & Mixer
Shelly Finkel - Management & Direction
Jim Kopli - Management & Direction
Mike Reeder - Asst. Engineer
Cary Pritikin - Asst. Engineer
Andrea Klien - Design
Brian Hagiwara - Photography
John Peden - Band Photo

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. But they have all the elements of being a solid, fun rock/pop band. It is an 81’ album, with minimal, but bright, angular packaging, a one word name, self titled debut album, and the “cool” picture of the band on the back. With all that, the album has a high potential of being good. The song titles too, sound like urgent, angsty energy, which adds to the anticipated greatness.

Album Review: “It's All Right, it's OK” starts the album off with power pop and new wave sounding keyboards. The power comes from the rough, chugging-along guitars. The vocals have a slight heavy edge to them. The chorus has the other members echoing back to the lead vocals in harmony. The catchy guitar loop glides down the notes in a spiral. “I Want You, I Need You” starts with a catchy guitar section, and the vocals come into in story teller fashion, lamenting about lost love. The chorus is very catchy, in a theatrical, Journey way. The music cruises into stereotypical for the time periods heavy rough guitars. Slide guitars introduce “Right Away” as a light country tinged ballad. It is all harmonized backing vocals for the chorus, sounding a bit like supertramp if not sung with the high pitch. It is very light and groovy like lite 70’s rock. It is quite a difference from the first song. “Lonely Nights” sounds very familiar, but I cannot put my finger on what it sounds like: part 50’s oldie rock, and part 70’s lite power pop. The whole song flows through without a pause or transition. But it does have distinct musical changes, but it flows so well thanks to the constant drum and bass beat. The vocals remind me of Big Star. This is a good song. And the ending has the chorus underplayed with the verse echoed back. A solid summary of the songs hooks. Beatley piano and woodwinds begin “Let Me In” an obvious tribute to “Let it Be” as if rewritten and recorded by Wings. It is a nice repetitive nonthreatening pop ballad. It is a relaxing groove that eventually fades out.

“Need Your Love” starts off side two and automatically I’m reminded of the Cars until the vocals start. They don’t’ have the nasal-ness of Ocasek. Instead, the chorus is a smooth monotone drone. But it builds in power and strength, and reminds me of the Lightning Seeds and other smooth sounding English acts. It ends in a hum of the melody, and it really really sounds like smooth brit-dance-pop. Even the effects in the background are similar, and it is very well done for something that precedes the mastery of brit-pop. “American Girls” is musically a bit side to side jerky like Devo, but the vocals begin, and that vibe is lost to a straight forward pop song. Perhaps it is just the song topic, but it feels like a Beach Boys song produced with an 80’s pop style. There are some harmonics that are reminiscent of the beach boys in the chorus, and the short catchy verse also lends itself to a comparison. I don’t know why I hear the song “Urgent” in every power pop song, but again, I get a sense of that song structure in “The Admiral's Mutiny.” The rhythm guitar work is staggered and following the drum beat, gives the song a tripping, jagged feel. But the vocals are like Supertramp. And a couple times, the way he ends a line of verse, I get a flash back comparison to Ben Folds Five (Reinhold Messner era). “Spend this Evening” begins as a jangly blues ditty. Then the loud guitars pick up the melody and give it a sinister dark edge. For a second, I swore I heard a few notes in a row similar to the Beatles “When I’m 64.” That said, this is a catchy song. I need to really hear the Kinks more, but I think that this song would remind me of their style if I knew about them more. Or maybe it’s Herman’s Hermits I’m thinking of, whom I know a little more about. I like this song a lot too. Rock guitars and Supertamp harmonizing vocals start off “Dancing in the Shadows.” It is a head bopping, toe tapping song. The result is an eclectically orchestrated song, with many short repetitive sections bridged together with a bit of theatrical flair.

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